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Remote reboot keeps looking to USB Drive

Working with a Windows 7 Pro machine. The user leaves 2-3 USB hard drives (not simple USB flash drives)  connected to the machine.

Our problem is that when working remote he uses the VPN and RDP to connect to the machine. Occasionally, the machine hangs and nothing but a hard reboot will return it to normal operation... and no one else is on the premises.

We worked around that with a nice little product called iBoot that will let us kill power to the PC, and then restore it... this device combined with the BIOS set to boot when power is restored, the machine can now be given a hard reboot remotely.

Now we get to the problem.  The BIOS is also set to look at the local Hard disk as the first choice for bootup.  Unfortunately, it is looking at the attached USB hard drives first and reporting "no bootable partition in the table".

This is not surprising because the USB drive does not have a bootable partition... but why is the machine looking to the USB drive for a boot partition when the BIOS is set to look at the local hard drive.

At that point the machine won't boot unless the USB drives are removed, and a second reboot initiated. This is a problem as it is tough to pull out a USB cable via RDP :-(

Anyone else ever see a problem like this?  Suggestions welcome.
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Tomster2
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Tomster2
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4 Solutions
 
William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
Seems to me that the bigger problem is the machine hangs up and requires a hard reboot! Figure out what's causing that and you may fix your other problem.

You could also try updating your BIOS, as maybe something isn't working correctly there.
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Tomster2Author Commented:
Additional info.  The PC is an HP Pavillion P6000.
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Tomster2Author Commented:
phungus69,

In a perfect world that would be the way to go.  But the user is sometimes gone from his solo office a month at a time. Things happen... that is why we need to cover all the basis of situations we may encounter while he is gone.
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William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
I understand completely!

You should start by going to HP.com and checking for BIOS updates, then reset the boot order and try it again. If it defaults to the USB drive during bootup, then it's a BIOS problem and has nothing to do with Windows.
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cpmcomputersCommented:
Try disabling legacy USB support in the bios

Does not always work but sometimes does the job
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Tomster2Author Commented:
No Bios update available.  We went into the BIOS and looked at "HDD Group".  This shows the internal drive as #1 in the boot order, with the USB drives listed after it.

He actually has a USB Hub connected to the PC and as many as 4 USB drives connected to the hub.  I know... not the best arrangement, but it is what it is.
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cpmcomputersCommented:
did you try the above - disable legacy usb in bios ?
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ChiefITCommented:
If not a BIOS (boot sequence) edit, check BCD (boot configuration Data) editing for that USB drive.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc721886%28v=ws.10%29.aspx

I believe you can edit this in MSCONFIG.

Go to START>>and on the run line type>>msconfig>>press enter, and select the "boot tab" to remove the option to boot to USB.

I still think this is a BIOS boot sequence edit.
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Tomster2Author Commented:
Will check the msconfig when I have access to the machine.

Thanks.

As far as the USB legacy support, would disabling that affect recognition of USB drives going forward?
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cpmcomputersCommented:
USB legacy support is not required by windows Os
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ChiefITCommented:
BCDedit is a utility that you can use to edit the Win7 version of the (boot.ini) file. This BCDedit will allow you to tell the computer what drive and OS on that drive boots the computer. The diagnostic and utilities disk has a means to use a graphic interface to edit BCD (boot configuration data). Have you created a Win7 recovery disk, yet? If so, boot to it and go to BCDedit util. If not, you can continue to try to edit in MSConfig, but that's not a sure means to edit BCD, I am only guessing because that's how you edited the boot.ini in XP systems.
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Tomster2Author Commented:
msconfig boot tab - no reference to boot from USB there.

BIOS - no reference to legacy USB support (from checking other threads this is not unusual on HP systems.

I did look at BCD edit, but must humbly state it was way over my head.  Most of the threads I could find are for modifying multiboot systems, but could not find any that referenced how to change the boot order relative to cd, hdd, usb.

After further thought I knew there where cases where all the usb device inserts and removes create a lot of baggage.  I had the user manually remove all usb devices. I then went to Device Manager and uninstalled all the "USB Root Hub" instances... and rebooted.

We then plugged them back in again.. and tried a reboot. This time the machine ignored the usb device and came up to a login screen.

So something in the USB "stack" as I call, was confusing... even to the BIOS.  I have no idea what it was, but now we are booting in the expected fashion.

Thanks for the suggestions.  I will be splitting the points as I appreciated the replies.

Tomter2
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William FulksSystems Analyst & WebmasterCommented:
Glad you got it fixed!
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Tomster2Author Commented:
My comments outlines the action that corrected the problem.
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